Sunday, December 15, 2019

Comments by rasselas.redux

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  • Bradford wrote: “It was 10 years earlier. The FIRST people the Nazis put in the camps were the disabled, and so-called “mentally ill”. That started in 1933…”

    I question the veracity of this comment.

    It is true that the killing of mental patients in mostly mental institutions pre-dated the killing of others by Nazis, but it’s important to remember that this killing had gotten underway before even the formulation of the Nazi Party.

    The concentration camps began popping up in 1933. The first 3 were Dachau, Oranienburg and Lichtenberg. All three were populated first with political prisoners.


  • Every time I get an intolerable headache I reach for paracetamol. That’s a psychoactive drug. And in most contexts it’s a medicine.

    Any psychoactive drug which is taken for medicinal purposes is a medicine.

    I think it must be the intent that matters. So any drug taken with the aim to be medicinal, is a medicine.

    There are of course official and nonofficial medicines. But that is another matter.

  • Steve McCrea wrote: “It sounds like you are defining “mental illness” as any condition that results in people behaving in dangerous or destructive ways. Do you really see these behaviors as “illnesses” in the medical sense?”

    When I use the term mental illness I do so in the awareness that it is a metaphor. That metaphor in general use encompasses all the unknown diseases, syndromes, damages and congenital malformations to and of the human brain.

    Unlike others I don’t have an ongoing neurosis about the term mental illness. I see it as a metaphorical holding pen for all that is currently unknown or tentatively understood about the human brain going wrong in some way or other.

    I think the sensible — although very frightening and unnerving and difficult — probability is that something is physiologically wrong (or to coin the technical term, cock-a-hoop) with someone that goes on a spree killing, yes. There are numerous known physiological causes that can give rise to such wanton violence. We don’t know them all. We may never know them all. And it’s not a routine matter to dissect and closely examine the brains of these murderous lunatics. It should be a routine matter, but it isn’t. On here that physiological cause is often attributed to antidepressants. That’s overstated, but nonetheless a perhaps plausible very minor addition to the very long list of already known possible physiological factors.

    Everything we do think feel say decide and so on has a physiological factor.

    I do not much like the majority of human beings, if I get to know them. So the trick is to not get to know them, in order that I can go on liking them, and interacting with them. Deep down, most people operate under that mischief. It takes a narcissism of tremendous achievement to get to the point of holding a gun and deciding on a slaughter of the innocents. To seek out that kind of narcissistic resolution to one’s natural and largely repressed misanthropy takes a tremendously cock-a-hooped brain and central nervous system and gastrointestinal system. To witness such an event is to witness a human machine gone awry. It’s a breakdown event. A malfunction event.

    To see it any other way, to me, lacks a sense of proportion or basic humanity. People behave like this because something has gone seriously wrong with their bodies, and thus their being. They are, again to coin the technical term, tapped in the head. In that “tapped” process they will often seek out justifying grand narratives, something big and extreme and loathsome and dangerous. Yet often, too, they won’t, and be self-justified by nothing more than I-don’t-like-Mondays.

    Brains go wrong. The brain is the most complex known organ. It goes wrong in so many ways and in doing so can give rise to breathtaking horrors.

    A sphincter is a much less complex bodily mechanism. It also goes wrong, and it also can give rise to breathtaking horrors.

    Why do people here so easily accept that the sphincter goes wrong but struggle so much with the notion of a malfunctioning brain?

  • Most mass shooters either kill themselves or get killed at the end of their insanely narcissitic horror operas. When they don’t, we find a mentally ill person. Or, more often, someone we would perhaps deem to be personality disordered.

    It is not considered fair game to denote someone as mentally ill or personality disordered because of their political ideologies. That to me is a categorical failing.

    The problem then for people like Trump, is that they would fall foul of my liberalising of the DSM. In fact, there are very few politicians that wouldn’t. And then almost everyone would fall foul of my liberalising at some point in their lives. At many points in their lives.

    On the one hand we say that there is no such thing as mental illness. People have problems and they need help getting over them.

    And then on the other hand we turn a blind eye to religious and political extremists. We insist that holding certain political and religious views are protected, and effectively healthy and okay.

    The world is a gulag populated by the mostly insane.

    Perhaps there is some truth in the fact that the aliens have a vested interest in keeping humans on this prison planet. We’d cause mayhem elsewhere.

  • I think all mass shootings are connected to mental illness. All mass murder. In fact all hate and killing arises from mental illness.

    It’s just that polite society is not willing to denote hate as illness. Whereas personally I believe hate to be a very intensely ill state of mind.

    I also believe that all extremist thinking is a form of mental illness. Including fascistic thinking. Or its preferred new term, alt right. The alt right movement is replete with mentally ill thinking.

    I also consider neoliberalism as mentally ill.

    For me, the DSM is just as problematic for what it discludes, as what it includes.

  • “[Rufus May] Advises distressed “schizophrenics” to go out for a walk!”

    And those stressed out by constant walking and roaming are advised to go indoors.

    So really, we should all be mindful about when we go outdoors and when we remain indoors. And we should, as much as possible, allow life to flow through us, and our thoughts also to flow through us. Because there are only thoughts and impressions. And they flow through us. Or seem to. Given that our being is a sophisticated illusion.

    These days most people go out through staying indoors, and experiencing outdoors through screens, in which they explore new worlds. When outdoors they lose themselves in portable screens that enable them to maintain indoors attachments.

    Strictly speaking indoors and outdoors are eaxctly the same thing. Much like up and down. And dead and alive. Nothing whatsoever is fundamentally altered, other than perception.

    The best discoevered place to get away form it all is likely the moon. It would be interesting to float off the planet one day and venture off aimlessly in a random direction.

    Having a mind is burdensome, tiresome. This is why we invented the written word. It’s superior to actual consciousness, which, by the by, is a complete mess.

  • I don’t understand the logical flow of this thesis. No, I understand it. I simply don’t see how its premises follow from one another.

    In a nutshell, humans evolved mechanisms to cope with stressful life-threatening situations, to increase the odds of surviving them.
    The costs of surviving these life-threatening situations was early death and more disease. And not just for them, but for generations
    of ancestors that followed.

    Thus, trauma built up in successive generations, bringing huge burdens of disease and life-shortening physical and mental problems.

    Which is a retelling of the Original Sin narrative. Only now it’s the Original Trauma.

    This thesis is suggesting that it is detrimental to many iterations/generations of the human genome to survive a life-threatening trauma. In fact it is tantamount to an act of malice to survive life-threatening trauma. Because human bodies have evolved to survive trauma and then punish it.

    Just as some others consider humans to be created to sin and then get punished for sinning.

    Only a therapist can atone you of your ancestors’ sins of surviving attacks by sabre-tooth tigers and non homo hominids. They do this via renewed (newly made-up) shamanic techniques that helped our ancestors see the value of not aspiring to a long-life and greeting Death with open, non-traumatised arms. To save many future generations from lifelong suffering.

    Only those that can afford weekly sessions of open bullshitting with a credentialed psychotherapist can atone for their ancestors sins. On average this takes about $50,000 per person, per sabre-tooth tiger attack.

  • I’m not in the least surprised that you can share this example of you helping someone to recover their life and being a major source of help, support and encouragement. As you have hinted previously, you’re the kind of person that struggles with turning your back on people and isn’t averse to getting your hands dirty. You would self-sacrifice without need for trumpet-blowing, social boasting, vested interest, monetary compensation, and so on. You do it because you are at heart a kind person that finds personal meaning in helping others.

    However, you weren’t all in with the guy as an antipsychiatrist. And you assume from personal bias that he’s always going to be better off abstaining from antipsychotics, when in fact, for some people, the enforced goal of abstention is an unnecessary cruelty that rides roughshod over their needs in order to make a fantasy triumphal gallop into the sunset of ideology.

    What I have come to understand is that for people suffering severe and enduring difficulties, formalised systems of care and support best work in alliances with those in close, caring and supportive relationships with the sufferers. What I think we’re lacking in the West is the encouragement and support and promotion of befriending/adoption kinds of relationships, in which people who have no-one in their life willing or able to stand in and take on responsibility for them, are not denied, cast out, failed, but helped by those that profess to know better, that demand more humanity, that scream loudly about how they were once hard done by, and that these people, once they have attained a state of forgiveness, can work in alliance with professionals, so that others can acheive what they feel was once denied to them.

    I believe lots of people are standing idle on this, and have got themselves trapped in echo chambers in which they are all waiting for someone else to make a move. When really all it takes is one person of conviction to be open to one other person that is suffering. In other words, just one person at a time. It’s not like there aren’t enough people available to do this. There is in fact a massive surplus, and large numbers of antipsychiatrists (and others with less redical views) with spare rooms, sofas, and sufficient resources to get by, maybe scrape by, but surely the focus is on human needs and human kindness?

  • I agree it can be done and it is done, the world over. Only we don’t get to hear much from these people doing it.

    Also, to clarify, I don’t personally think it is possible or even sensible to propose or attempt to help anyone with severe mental illness and not have legal protections, and input from professionals of all colours and approaches, as part of a network of care and support and perspectives and in some cases, safeguarding. Maybe it is possible for some people, and if it is, for some people to be helped entirely without input from conventional systems… but I think when supportive systems are available,a nd working well, person and needs focused, that is the best way, centrainly for those people considered to be the most complex and the most in need.

  • Ekaterina Netchitailova wrote: “[…]radical change can only come from within and from outside together, including medical profession, psychologists, survivors, and peer workers. For instance, the stance of the Ministry of Health in Belgium in rejecting the system of diagnoses, is a step in this direction, in some countries, in some places.”

    Belgium aren’t proposing to reject the DSM system of diagnoses. What they are reforming is the over-reliance on formal diagnosis, and also thus overdiagnosing, and moving from the old way of doing things (categorical diagnoses) to dimensional approaches (biopsychosocial psychiatry). So instead of symptoms, it’s rating scales. And the plotting of those scales over time. So, in some ways, more numbers and less words.

    Most NHS mental health systems in the UK have been incorporating dimensional approaches too, for some time. For instance, formulation is now a common approach to people’s assessments. Instead of focusing on symptoms, and presentations, it’s about taking a more broad view of someone;s life history and current and potential future problems, and plotting a biopsychosocial path to recovery. So at the heart of most peoples care planning will be a recovery-focused package of care, rather than something entirely symptom-focused.

    This to avoid overdiagnosis, stigma, pessimism, and wasted resources that don’t help people recover. But they will go on with diagnosing the core group of severely mentally ill, just as before. Only those with milder symptoms will not fall foul of labeling, if only because categorical approaches pretty much demand diagnoses in order to provide care, and dimensional approaches don’t.

    I agree that this is a good development across European healthcare. It will mean a lot of people avoiding stimga from unnecessary diagnosing. And better use of resources. But it will not spell the end of diagnosing DSM illnesses in Belgium.

  • What I propose is to take up the gauntlet thrown by PacificDawn.

    I think you should do what everyone on here should do. Put your money where your mouth is, and take on a person society has deemed severely mentally ill. Kind of adopt them. Bring them into your life and apply your insights. Relinquish them. Free them. No calling the cops. No calling them nasty names. No labelling them with derogatory terms. No violence. No mindgames. No reacting to provocations. No turning your back. Stick by them. Guide them. Tolerate them. Demonstrate in the real world why there is no need for psychiatry, for mental health laws, for commitment, for hospitals, for drugs, for risk assessments, for disability status.

    Demonstrate in action why a severely mentally ill person (ie on here, a fiction) is better off with you than existing systems of support and/or curtailment.

    No institutionalising. So no Soteria. No team-work, no shift work. So no professionalising. No drugging. So no violence. No compulsion. No safeguarding. So no taboo about harm to self and others. Including you.

    Then, after say, 12 months. Tell the world how it went.

    For every hour spent tapping repetitive condemntations of existing systems is an hour wasted in helping someone in the real world and putting your convictions into action.

    Just to add I’ve witnessed big talkers attempting to do this, a number of times. Each and every one of them behaved like despots as soon as things got tough. But not you. Not anyone here. You are different. You know better. I know this, because most days you’re telling the world that you know better.

    So demonstrate it. If anyone here did this just once, I’d be more inclined to consider them sincere. Which is only fair of me, all told.

    Because the biggest problem lies in the expectation that people have that those in peril and disarray will be helped by others. That they are sympathetic to the plight of the mentally ill but only in abstraction, as an idea, always many ways removed from the actual person. That is must always be someone elses’ problem. And that they know better but never so well as to become intimately involved themselves. The problem of the critic is that they are non-creative. They don’t wish to get their hands dirty. But they know an awful lot about how others should go about getting their hands dirty. What we’re talking about here are human beings, that need other human beings. That need help and recognition. And that if mental illness doesn’t exist, then perhaps the bigger problem is that basic human care and self-sacrifice to others is itself diminishing. Wishing mental illness away doesn’t help anyone. It’s not the best metaphor ever conceived but so far it’s the only one that actually brings support and sympathy to people.

    Where is the support and sympathy happening amongst the people here?

    Who is actually caring and self-sacrificing and demonstrating that their claims have any validity outside of text and talking?

    A minority, from what I can gather. And no-one so far as I can see you’d deem antipsychiatry seems to be doing much for the severely mentally ill at all. Unless I am wrong?

  • The people who most demonize the severely mentally ill, moreso than anyone else, are the severely mentally ill who commit monstrous crimes. These are the people from whom all stigma spews forth.

    The problem then is one of predictive accuracy. Who else amongst this group is going to be the next to commit horrific acts of crime against the innocent?

    It the the public, by and large, who pressure their elected members, and their police forces, and their systems of Law, to “do something about it.”

    And so, to win votes, to be seen to be serving the public, and for justice to be seen to done, it is psychiatrists and mental health systems that are the last in line of pass the buck. Families generally pass the buck on to them too. Lovers, husbands, wives, daughters, friends, colleagues, neighbours… everyone passes the buck over to psychiatrists and the mental health system.

    Because when push come to shove, hardly anyone is willing or equipped to take on the challenge of the severely mentally ill. It is a significant, life-changing, restrictive, challenging and potentially dangerous choice to make, to help someone severely mentally ill, without the resources and legal protections of a governmentally-sanctioned system.

    So the buck is passed until finally it’s a psychiatri team. And our severely mentally ill person in front of them. And there’s maybe a history of violence. Delusions involving threats or plans of violence. And a clock that just won’t stop ticking. The very clock that everyone passed along with the buck.

    Now, you sort that out. Break free of whining in the text box and get out into the real world and sort that out.

  • If you don’t gain lucidity from 50mg+ of Seroquel, then you were lucid already, and the effect of too much light is the same as too little.

    Or, there wasn’t much going on in your head prior to taking the drug. And then it’s like comparing one square meter of desert to another square meter of desert.

    Thanks for putting me on to this writer. He writes well and is interesting. Having scanned his blog I found a lot I align with, particularly his take on social control which is like my take, with a few extra baubles.

    Not sure why I wrote this and posted it. No-one asked me what I thought about this writer and I wouldn’t expect anyone would want to know either.

    In fact I question why I write anything online in comment boxes. It’s a dirty habit?

  • RE: #IAmNotDangerous

    Lots of solid research in psychology which demonstrates why pushing a negative has the opposite consequence. So you say to someone, “Do not think about an elephant.” And then all they can think about is an elephant.

    Likewise with pushing the above hashtag. All it achieves is people thinking about dangerousness, way more than they previously were likely to.

    And humans are a dangerous species. We are given to all kinds of violence, in all kinds of ways, most of which is subtle and concealed.

    So to claim non-dangerousness is quite a claim. I’d like to see some qualifying evidence from someone making this claim. Of course, they won’t be able to supply any evidence to substantiate the claim. And if I demanded it they’d resort to some form of subtle violence. That’s pretty much guaranteed.

    An additional dilemma: do dangerous people always know that they are dangerous, and how likely are they to self-identify to others as dangerous?

    Surely a dangerous person would be more likely to self-identify as non-dangerous than an actual non-dangerous person?

    In a very rudimentary social psychology sense, identifying oneself to the group as non-dangerous is likely to instill suspicion in the group. It may also act as a driver of bias, effectively ensuring that the group perceives dangerousness in the person claiming to be non-dangerous.

    All humans are potentially dangerous. All relationships and social settings are fraught with danger.

    You are potentially dangerous. I am potentially dangerous. Let’s trust Life and take some risks!

  • “Recovery is not a bridge we cross and never return to. Rather, it is more like fording a stream by side-stepping on different stones. Not all of the stones are as sturdy as some of the others. Yes, we slip at times, only to regain our footing and forge ahead.”

    Then why — O why O why O why O why O why O why — use this word “recovery” and not simply say, “life”. Life is full of ups and downs. We get knocked down, we get up again. Then, we die. We get knocked down, we stay knocked down. We learn to appreciate the dirt. Dirt is good. Dirt is life. We get knocked down, then we get knocked down, again and again, over and over and over. Until finally there is no distinguishing between our lives and the shitty earth’s shitty firmament of decayed shit and decaying shit-filth. We get knocked down, and we learn that it’s a bottomless pit. O the beauty of the bottomless pit! On our ever-nearing return to the shit from whence we came we pass lots of smiley no-can-do’s, they bother us as they float upwards, ever upwards. We try telling them… all that up there, it’s all *ill*usions whose only purpose is to delay the downward drop, which, given time, is where we’re all headed, every one of us, for all of time. The smiley-narkeys never stay long enough, except to nark a bit, nark and chomp, nark and chomp, and we’re going down, down, down, and they are so fixated on upwards. Upwards up the poop-pipe the wrong way.

    “Not all of the stones are as sturdy as some of the others. Yes, we slip at times, only to –”

    Drown. We slip at times, only to drown. And our senseless bodies fill and bloat and we sink, sink, sink, endlessly sink and it gets darker, so dark, and not a shard of light, not a glimmer. And not a hand, and not an eye. And not a word. And not a sound, or a soothing sigh. Nothing, as we sink, bloated, bewildered. And not a person on this planet, not a memory, not a poem, nothing can comfort, nothing can prevent our striken bodies, our striken drowning, nothing.

    These days, schizophrenics are troubled by the oppression, the anti-poetry, the anti-thought of these hyper-positive spin-yarns. Yes, I know life is hard for you but. You know. Me. It is important that we consider me. Life is hard for everyone. Even me. Life is hard for me. I mean. Only this morning, the toaster broke. I got jam on my shirt. I caught my lonely lamentables in the zipper. Excruciate. Excruciate! My pain! You see? And I snuck a glimpse of my face looking back, quizzically, and momentarily it was: you’re a git, like the others you resent. So yes. You and your precious schizo-problems. You and your… Er, excuse me. Are you listening?

    A recovery workshop is comprised of one or more persons explaining to other persons why they should “get a life”, and that not doing so is because they are making all the wrong choices.

    Stop choosing the colour black. Stop choosing to listen to Sigur Rós’ Valtari. Stop re-reading Jude the Obscure. Stop the mulling over EM Cioran. Stop fixating on the annihilations. These are all your shitty shitty choices and they are making you a sick shitty person in a splendid era, for splendid people.

    This is not a splendid era splendidly peopled. Is it?

    Or as some would have it: All. The. Wrong. Choices. As if adding some grammatical petulance is equivalent to pathos.

    To conclude todays parable: I put together my own recovery workshop, and marketed it to the recently beareaved, and to mortuaries, and to crematoriums, and other burial/burning specialists. Take up was slow, morbidly slow. Yet once the acrid pun was out the way, I got a few bookings. There is truly nothing in life more lusciously empowering of the non-sexual passions than finding oneself afore a roomful of dead folk, lying there, arrogance abounds, neither going forwards nor backwards, neither desiring nor annulling, merely composedly oozing, and as I say, standing afore these shameless shells, and shaming the shit-for-nothing life back into them. It’s a wonderful feeling. It is. I’m telling you now it’s an out-and-out extraordinary.

    What is resilience? Resilience is being punch-drunk. It’s having your head caved in so many times you can’t feel the pain any more. Or, resilience is when it’s been so long in pain that pain is all you know and you keep on going through the pain. Because the pain has to cease at some point, right? That’s what they’ve been telling you, every chance they get, they keep on repeating the same yawny lines. Ofttimes they are singing it and passing you a song-sheet and a nudge in the back, a cold fixated stare, and you mumble along with them, dreadfully, hopelessly hanging on to whatever uninspiring moment’s rejected teaching offers you next.

    We are alone. Endlessly, unstoppably alone. It begins, as it will end. Alone, alone, alone.

  • An immediate problem.

    People who are pro-psychiatry also have cognitive liberty. Same as those who are anti-psychiatry.

    Each group has cognitive liberty and thus will be endlessly locked in a tussle about who has the greater ethical right to claim their thinking as superior. At least in a legal sense.

    Next problem.

    The mind does not have a firewall and is hackable, from a distance, using various forms of consciousness-altering technology. There are no known defences against these technologies nor much awareness of their capabilities. So in the not-so-distant future, someone’s cognitive liberty could come under attack, invisibly, undetectably, and then this compromised cognition would be regarded as a protected right.

    Then the problem of thought and thinking as a purely private process. And it is, and it isn’t. Thoughts are private until an attempt is made to express them. And then those expressions are interpreted by others, who will have thoughts of their own. But the expression of thoughts and thinking aren’t protected. And in many cases they shouldnt be.

    For instance, a paedophile may think all the lurid thoughts they like. A terrorist may think all the hateful thoughts they like. A misogynist, a rapist, a bully, a bigot… all are free to think their thoughts just as much as they like. It’s when they express them that the trouble starts.

    Then we move into the area of censorship, either by others, or self-censorship… and that’s another can of worms. But briefly, cognitive liberty modeled around whose values and whose language-choices and modes of expression and so on? Could this simply become another oppressive over-valuing for instance of academic discourse and language over and above other modes of discourse? Which aren’t strictly speaking thinking or cognition but styles of organising thinking and cognition which tend to be favoured over other styles, such as working class or minority ethnic and so on?

    For a long time people have been able to think what they like without interference from others. Those days are fading fast. Technology is increasingly able to penetrate the mind and extract and insert thoughts.

    Another problem.

    If someone believes that unknown actors using unknown technologies are inserting thoughts into their minds. we have long considered this a delusion, or a feature of psychosis. Many serial and spree killers have claimed this has happened to them.

    Should their experiences be considered sacrosanct and protected, especially now that the technology able to conduct such experiences is extant and active?

  • Hello Sera Davidow and Caroline Mazel-Carlton.

    You’ve both done a good job here of dissescting the “pill-shaming!” exclamation and raised some interesting issues. There is a lot more that can be said on this subject and I hope either or both of you return to it at some future point.

    Like many aggressive exclamations, the “pill-shaming!” exclamation is an attempt to both hold or retain personal power against a percieved attack, as well as a quite violent way to shut down discussion. But it also acts, as I think you’ve acknowledged, to push back against overly zealous antipsychiatry activists/trolls who refuse to allow psychiatric pills to play any meaningful or helpful role in an individual’s life.

    Like you and many people I have close and longlasting relationships with people who choose to take the pills. And when younger I would find their decisions an irritant, a distraction from my antipsychiatry antiselfdrugging zeal. Most commonly as people age, they temper down. I’m glad to say that, putting aside the occasional outbreak of antichoice pox, I’ve tempered down.

    One issue you haven’t touched on but worth considering is the power people attain once they are on the pills for some time. For instance, I know and have known a number of people who, well-aware of the withdrawal syndrome of cold turkeying antipsychotics, choose from time to time to coldturkey withdrawal because of the power they feel it gives them, ie a swift re-entry into the psychiatric system, or a way to take control of tricky social situations that have been burgeoning for some time, and which are maybe loking like the social tide is turning against them, if they’ve been up to no good and troubling the hornets nest, a tactically chosen coldturkey withdrawal can have the magnificent effect of them gaining significant power over others, and they can rapidly retreat or leave behind any scrutiny or critiscism of their prior behavior because like you know now they are in relapse, and nothing else matters.

    I’ve seen that play out so often, I’m sure it must happen all over.

    Not that I condemn those who do it. Desperate situations call for desperate actions, and in the UK at least, a tactical coldturkey withdrawal is perhaps the only way someone can access the help they feel they need.

    Thanks both.

    (apologies for the numerous typos. I banged that out and must depart the keyboard, sharpish)

  • Q: Are Antidepressants Enabling the Population to Tolerate the Intolerable?

    A: No. Alcohol has been serving that function for many thousands of years.

    The explosion in antidepressants is a reflection of how miserable modern life makes many people. And has been making people miserable for a very long time. Only in recent times it’s become more acceptable to come out about it to doctors who, these days, fear the patient, fear doing nothing, and so prescribe antidepressants.

    Unfortunately, even on SSRIs etc, people continue to be miserable, but maybe a little bit less so, in that their misery is at least acknowledged now, and kinda cared for, and they can feel like something is being addressed. And at the same time go on drinking copious amounts of alcohol…

  • Malignant narcissism isn’t a mental illness. It’s a personality-style, a tendency to construct grandiose victim-status and vengefulness against perceived narcissistic injuries. Here you’re playing the armchair shaming psychotherapist, placing the atrocities of Rodger squarely on his father, whose probably only fault was pursuing a career at the expense of being present for his son.

    Psychiatry doesn’t depict personality disorder as a mental illness. Although as we all know, it’s often quite happy to drug the individual with personality problems.

    In my experience, narcissists — many of whom are probably acquired situational narcissists — do very well in the mental health system, partly because we are culturally led on to equate fame with expertise. And they exploit that ruthlessly, unsurprisingly.

    If I was to play the armchair psychobabbler, I’d guess that Rodger was a repressed homosexual, and the tragedy there was his inability to come to terms with that. He does, after all, describe in his manifesto the “trauma” of seeing heterosexual sex, and an adult female vagina, and spurns the advances of obtainable females, such that he can go on with his sense of persecution and rejection.

    His father is flawed, his mother is flawed. So is everyone. Choosing to go on a spree killing is entirely the choice of the malignant narcissist/psychopath… it’s just a shame that he couldn’t have been identified sooner, and all tragedy perhaps averted.

    Just to add that I am not equating repressed homosexuality with spree killing, generally. An old friend of mine spent 15 years in a marriage, had 3 kids, and was utterly miserable, but did well by his wife, and his children, and did his best to come out for them as gently as he could, although the whole experience was tragic.

    Only there are complex issues. Rodger was overly-mothered, under-fathered, bullied and hung up about his short stature. He comes across as quite effeminate, and time and time again, people were kind to him, even people that he had previously been bullied by, and despite everything, a life coach that tried to encourage him into work (he lasted 3 hours as he considered manual work beneath him) and friends who offered him homely and humble wisdoms. But he chose a trajectory, a narcissistic trajectory, and no-one is accountable for those choices other than himself.

  • Jule Green wrote: “Rassulus, I agree that the main concern of therapists, or shall I say, “therapists,” is that if we abolish therapy, they won’t have jobs.

    I don’t buy that at all. Too bad! How many patients and expatients on here have stated that psychiatry stole their career? And that’s okay?

    Should we feel sorry for them? I don’t. Get another job, for godsakes. We writers call it a “day job.” Bag groceries. That’s what one shrink told me to do, if I recall correctly. Okay, so they ruined my career and that’s their answer? Go work for Dunkin Donuts or McDonald’s. They’re always looking for people.

    Funny, they counsel people who are jobless, feel oh so sorry for us…fake empathy…and then they panic over their own potential joblessness.”

    I dunno, I am quite a sentimentalist at heart. When I read about the last hangman in England, I felt a tinge of sadness for a lost profession, a lost art, despite that I am against the death penalty and that hanging, in particular, seems designed to appeal to some peoples’ need to attain multiple sadistic emotional orgasms in answer to their grief and anger and vengefulness (the fact that many innocent people swung is a secondary concern).

    I’m not sure who to point the finger at with regards my laughably ruined life. Multiple fingers have to point back at myself because some of the choices I made, from the age of 5 years old and onwards, were tragi-comically self-defeating and although numerous therapists and wannabe therapists have chastised me for being less than charitable about the “inner child” I don’t think I have an inner child, the child is long gone, adults that claim to have an inner child come across to me as a little bit creepy. An inner tendency to at times be child-*ish*… well that’s something else entirely.

    But I digress. I think it’s sad for anyone to lose their jobs, especially if they have made a lot of sacrifices for it. Psychiatrists invest many years to attain that role. As do psychotherapists and really all serious professionals will undergo a lifetime of supplementary learning throughout their careers.

    I think a lot of them would do better to work with abused animals. There may come a day in our lifetimes when the cattle and meat industries find their consciences and are gradually phased out so these poor creatures destined for ritualistic slaughter are emancipated and reintroduced to the wilds, or somewhere between the death-camps and the wilds, there will be lots of openings for compassionate and empathic individuals to help them.

    And certainly a lot of psychotherapists would find their skills far more appropriate in helping cows and pigs and sheepies and wotnot rather than be trusted with other human beings.

    Psychiatrists might also be better suited to working with emancipated meat too. They certainly show a real flair for working with meat. Of course the stringent guidelines against abusive practices might put many of them off, but I am sure many could adapt, and adapt very successfully.

  • A friend of mine was kept in a psychiatric ward for nearly 3 years because he refused to speak to the psychiatrists. It was only at the point of being threatened with ECT that he relented. He lied to them and thanked them for helping him. And soon after they let him go.

    I don’t understand what you mean about middle class families and capitalism. I also am not sure what middle class values are? Aren’t they the same as working class values but with a fear of working up a sweat or getting the hands dirty or risking the nails?

    Also, I’m not sure about the need to eradicate psychotherapy. I mean, as you’ve written, people will go on paying people to listen to them drone on about themselves. And in many cases, you’d *have* to pay someone to pretend to be interested. Only objection I have is that the payments go in one direction only. Most therapy seems to be about making the therapist feel better about themselves. So they should be paying their clients.

    Life coaches are another matter. A life coach is a more pragmatic individual. They will tell you what you already know but don’t want to hear, and charge a premium for it.

    The only advantage I can see with the psychiatrist over the other two is that, by the by, they aren’t going to pretend to like you or pretend to be interested in you. That’s something I do admire about them. You can be sure they will make it absolutely clear they consider you to be contemptible and beneath them.

    I also concerned about what all the pretentious people are expected to do if we do away with these professions?

    The New Age is a big enough circus as it is…

    I do agree with you that there needs to be some kind of defence network to help people that don’t want to mix it up with these self-professed experts that can do a lot of deep damage.

    In fact a defence network is an excellent idea and I’ll approach you soon with some ideas of my own which may help you move these ideas forwards.

  • That’s true, Fiachra but I wasn’t focusing on the feelings so much as the effects of living in a kind of virtual war-zone. Which can be frightening and thrilling all at once, sustainedly stressful in ways that impact a person’s life in unparalleled ways.

    In others words, the experience and impact of The Fear upon the person with schizophrenia will be remarkably unalike how fear impacts the general population, even in an actual war-zone.

    This is why people with schizophrenia have been afforded disability status and concomitant disability rights. It would be uncivilised for society to dismiss the impact of schizophrenia on a person, and thus deny disability rights, and I for one will always push back against any attempts to do so.

  • @Sylvain Rousselot

    I agree that the study is worrying for mice.

    Given recent advances in neurology I’m surprised that they are still using mice as avatars for human beings.

    However, the womb is a very toxic environment the world over to incubate new human beings. With all the heavy metals, pesticides, plastic particulates, chemicals in food and so on… the food chain is fucked.

    Plus the consumption of alcohol, the pollution from roads, the electromagnetic radiation… and so on…

    Studies like these do not account for any of these factors. They pretend that we live in an alternate universe where none of these factors have relevance. And end up looking like exercises in scapegoating…

    I agree that women should not be using psychoactive drugs at all during pregnancy… even though that is pretty much unachievable.

    One last point. You sidestepped my joke. Can you describe to me an autistic mouse?

  • I agree that it isn’t a justification for ECT. Even though there are many people whose names I know and who have had some measure of impact on the world following ECT, when, in all likelihood, they would have remained in obscurity had they not had it.

    A similar problematic rose from the ashes of Nazism and the Holocaust. Names like Primo Levi and Viktor Frankl… had they not endured such horrific experiences we probably would never have heard from them.

    That isn’t a justification for the Holocaust.

    Simply an observation that horrible experiences can lift people out of the mire in a way that hugs and cups of tea don’t seem able to match.

    Simply a reminder that life is not black and white, always — and that “being nice” (for the best?) also brings with it mundane outcomes, obscurity, and boring people.

    Which is why I am warming to your perspective. All the Recovery and the Therapy and the Life Coaching is banal and fosters banality.

    Only a political fight with all its risks and dangers and passions can truly awaken what’s inspiring and honest and worthwhile in people.

    To be fair to myself, I’ve long endorsed this perspective. I think it gets covered in the toxic cultural dust of “putting on a front”, “fake it ’till you make it”, “be positive and change the world” kinda baloney that we are all under pressure to comply with.

    A good dusting down from time to time is necessary.

  • They are a doddle to come off. What isn’t a doddle is trying to live with schizophrenia. Of course some people never had schizophrenia in the first place and so when they tell you how easy it is to live with schizophrenia are really pulling the wool over their own eyes. They haven’t got a clue.

    Under the line here schizophrenia doesn’t exist. It’s a nothing.

    But text is cheap.

    Out here in the real world schizophrenia is like living in a one-person war-zone every day of your life.

    Not everyone wants to live in a war zone every day of their life.

    They just can’t handle it or don’t want to handle it.

    There are lots of people that never had schizophrenia, that had some kind of blip and were misunderstood, and got treated really badly. I feel sorry for them but I have no sympathy for their lack of understanding of schizophrenia and its true sufferers. They do the true sufferers of schizophrenia a terrible injustice.

    Having said that… 7 years away from the war zone is surely long enough to consider going back and seeing if you can handle the fight?n

  • I have yet to meet a parent I would consider to be a suitable parent. In fact I think humanity should have a global moritorium on parenting. Just outlaw having children the world over for at least 50 years until we address the fuckedupness.

    After 50 years we might find at most 20 or 30 people on the whole planet suited to be parents. After 100 years that would rise to about 100 people.

    Forgive me for my optimism with the numbers…

  • I would discourage anyone from engaging in Open Dialoguing when really what it means is bare your soul to people being paid to keep their own true selves under lock and key.

    It’s just more bullshit wrapped up in pretty packaging.

    Never freely give something to people unwilling to reciprocate.

    Better to meet them on their own level and engage them in Open Bullshitting.

  • Rachel777 wrote: “Yes.
    The truth is the “medicines” given/forced on people correct nothing. There is no pathology to correct. The chemical imbalance is a filthy lie. And the only way to think straight is to flee the SMI Lobotomizing Machine.”

    “There is no pathology to correct.” How do you know this?
    Insisting that there isn’t a pathology in *any* person is akin to insisting that there always is. It may be that in some people it is an as yet unknown pathology that is causing their problems and there is plenty of early evidence for many many factors that may give rise to schizophrenia. Toxoplasma gondii being one.

    Schizophrenia is a collective noun.

    As is personality disorder.

    And depression.

    All the above are collective nouns for things that are tentatively understood.

  • It took me a long time to read through the PTMF. It didn’t speak to me but I imagine it would speak to a lot of people that have fallen into the clucthes of conventional mental health approaches who feel unhelped or harmed.

    Certainly it’s a big boost in furthering the status of people who are the victims of abuse. And that’s long overdue. Even if it will also encourage those who are not in actual fact the victims of abuse, but who claim that they are.

    Incidentally, I hear nearly 80,000 voices simultenously, about 7000 of them are very hostile, 30,000 I would say are reasonably kind, and the other 43,000 are febrile and unpredictable. I was lucky to find a very understanding psychotherapist who hired out Wembley football stadium over a number of off-season summer weekends and we did probably the most extensive chair-work ever seen in the history of psychobabble.

    An utterly exhausting process but nonetheless transformative. And, ultimately I have attained a very workshoppy recovery.

    Good luck to the PTMF-crew, I say. As with all the other crusaders, some of whom self-promote on here from time to time, lots of travel to new and interesting places, all expenses paid. What is it about Australia and New Zealand and their never-fading need for workshops from people from the USA and UK? Strange phenomena. Do they have no survivors or thinkers of their own? What do they do all day other than receive visitors from the UK and USA on all-expenses workshop tours?

  • Well… naming anything anti- is problematic as it invites an eternal dance. It also suggests a lack of confidence in whatever alternative is being proposed.

    Some anti- movements, I concede, are legitimately and necessarily named. For instance, an anti-fascist movement is necessary because fascism will never entirely leave the human race. It’s a way of thinking which repeats.

    Besides, anti-psychiatry is a term coined by psychiatrists who wanted a new kind of psychiatry, so those fundamentally opposed to psychiatry as a bone fide institution have gotten themselves saddled with an unfortunate term which kinda locks them in an eternal dance.

    Some say, when psychiatry is dead and buried, antipsychiatry will go with it, but as you rightly point out, that void would soon be filled by the psychologists and the psychotherapists and the life coaches, many of whom hanker after the power of psychiatry and would gladly take up the cause of oppression, should the opportunity arise.

    Antibiopolitics suggests that biopolitics is a bad thing, whereas, biological politics is probably something that will never leave humanity.

    Abortion rights are biopolitics.

    Transexualism is biopolitics.

    The prohibition of drugs is biopolitics.

    Transhumanism is biopolitics.

    Being against biopolitics suggests conservatism.

  • “[…]claiming that in order to credibly oppose psychiatry you must first have an “alternative”? Did they say that about slavery or concentration camps?”

    Yes, some people did expect an alternative to concentration camps and slavery, before they were willing to give credence to critique.

    It’s not what should be thought of as an intellectual stretch to propose an alternative. Instead of concentration camps, we’ll learn to live with differences in humanity of all kinds. However, we’ll also develop a quasi-slavery prison complex and we’ll recreate concentration camps off the radar at Guantanamo Bay. What is the alternative to Guantanamo Bay and a prison slavery complex?

    Alternatives are always needed. The need for them doesn’t end once people have agreed on some new way. Rights and liberties are under constant attack. Ways and modes of living constantly changing. All things are fluid and shifting so the call for alternatives is constant and necessary and not something which should be shrugged away.

    Shrugging alternatives away is what landed us with slavery and concentration camps and a prison slavery complex and Guantanamo Bay.

  • Psychiatry and psychotherapy will soon be outmoded by so-called AI-driven expert systems. Even without doing anything, these two professions as we now know them will be replaced.

    To begin with there will be a gradual merging, with theuse of various consciousness-reading and CNS recording systems in the consultancies to guide the psychiatrist/psychotherapist in their decision-making. Soon thereafter will come the appendages, the upgrades, the interfaces and implants that will implement the brain-treatment.

    And finally the consultancies will be replaced entirely by AI-systems, and this technology will advance and normalise to the point where people are implanted at birth. or multiple times throughout life. This will incur many advantages, not least the rapid acquisition of new skills.

    And throughout the question will be asked: What is a human? At what point is a human-machine hybrid more machine than human?

    And I’m sad to share this but by that point the final decisions will be made by Greater Good, the biological machine oracle of all living beings.

  • To break with the mistakes of the past, I would consider dropping the *anti-*. And then perhaps find some post-millennial word to slip into it that’s internet friendly.

    The term “Anti-Bio-politics” sounds conceived by an academic, which is no hindrance, as such (note where the term Extinction Rebellion started, and who started it, and why), only it belies its critique of middle class values.

    Biopolitical Freedom.

    Are you going to be vegan-friendly?

    Nittygritty aside, I have read through your comments and found many nuggets of wisdom. The rejection of religion ensures the nook and cranny for the forseeable future. Reminds me of the times in my life when I have ensured a bad outcome by not making the effort to wash my face.

    I visited the forum you’ve linked to and it has information about the R Project for Statistical Computing. Do you see statistical computing as a basis for activism?

  • Steve McCrea wrote: “Since Benzos and alcohol both act on the same systems in the brain, if alcohol causes brain damage, it stands to reason that benzos would do the same eventually.”

    According to neuroscience, Benzos and alcohol do not act on the same systems in the brain. It does not stand to reason that benzos have the same damaging effects on the brain as alcohol. Benzos do act on the GABA system, as well as many other hypothetical systems, but not in the same way as alcohol, which also acts on many other hypoythetical brain systems, and not all of the same ones, or in the same way.

    Brain damage is cell death, necrosis. It’s true that benzos and alcohol cause necrosis. But not in the same way, and not in the same patterns, and not predictably in all people.

  • Sera Davidow wrote: “I’m going to be headed to a “Legislative Breakfast” at the end of this week that is inevitably going to include stories that fit the format you, I, and so many others are pushing back against.”

    Steve McCrea wrote: “I don’t think the stories themselves are what folks are objecting to.”


    Steve McCrea wrote: “It’s the apparent use of these stories to perpetuate the status quo.”

    Please elaborate on how that is so. It isn’t readily apparent to me.

    “The apparent enforced limitations put on the stories so as not to “upset” anyone, not to mention the choice to threaten civil commitment when someone’s story is too scary for them to hear.”

    There is no threat of civil commitment made by the competition organisers. What they say is that if some submits what is effectively a suicide-note they agree to be contacted by a professional from the organisation running the competition.

    The enforced limitations are not unreasonable. They say they don’t want “sugar-coated” prose, but something impactful and inspiring. They don’t want something self-indulgent and exploitative of the reader which may inspire them to snuff themselves. That’s a sensible balance.

  • The above concludes thusly:

    “In the late summer of 2010, I decided to address the issue head on using
    art in a series called Live Through This. I took a voice recorder and my
    camera, and I went to the source. I started to talk to other attempt
    survivors about their experiences—what led up to their attempt(s), their
    recovery, how they were treated by medical professionals, their feelings
    about psychiatric medications, what their support systems look like,
    other factors, and wherever else the discussion led. After each
    conversation, I made a portrait. I moved in close and asked each survivor
    to look into my lens as if they were looking directly into the eyes of the
    I started to publish these portraits and stories online as a kind of
    experiential catalog—as proof that, not only are we not alone, but that
    this issue spans all age ranges, ethnicities, faiths, sexual orientations,
    gender presentations, and any other box we might want to put a person
    in. I’ve interviewed 115 suicide attempt survivors in 13 US cities. I have
    no plans to stop.
    I’m not trying to normalize suicidal feelings. I tell this story and I do this
    work because I want people to know that this doesn’t happen in a
    vacuum. The suicidal mind can’t be stereotyped. When we do it safely,
    talking about these feelings can be empowering. It can create
    identification and breed compassion. It can heal. It can open us up to
    possible solutions, both for ourselves and the system at large. Maybe it
    can even save lives, but we won’t know until we try.
    I wish I could say that I didn’t still battle my mind and the thoughts that
    I’d be better off dead sometimes, but I do. The difference now is that I’m
    not afraid to talk about it. I’m not afraid to ask for help when I need it. I
    know I’m loved even when I can’t feel it. And I know I will be able to
    power through any difficult moment because I know, without a doubt,
    that I’m not alone.”

  • Okey-dokey.

    I have read the 2015 winner: – Redeemed by Dese’Rae L. Stage

    The charge of “recovery porn” again does not hold.

    One paragraph reads: “My story is not unique. There are so many others out there just like it,
    but the society we live in tells us that we can’t talk about suicide, that
    doing so is attention-seeking behavior, that it only happens to “crazy”
    people. The truth is, this can happen to anyone, and until we
    stop sterilizing it by talking in figures, stereotyping it, romanticizing it,
    sensationalizing it, or avoiding it completely, we’re not going to save any

  • The competition winner in 2016 was Baltering from Bedlam by Ashley Loftin. I have just now read that text and I found nothing disagreeable or exploitative. It was tasteful and redemptive.

    I can’t see what the problem is.

    I suppose some would object to the fact that the competition winner expresses no qualms about being diagnosed borderline. Or that anti-depressants and therapy were helpful to her. If they were then they were and why should she or others be made to feel shameful for having bad experiences, going through mainstream treatments, and getting back on their feet and leaving it all behind?

    People unrecovered from suicidal impulses may be disadvantaged from entering the writing competition because they are dead. Or simply that they have found themselves unable to break free from their rut and achieve the narrative arc of someone like Ashley Loftin.

    My advice to such people is find some other competition and enter that.

    And a $10 entrance fee is cheaps as chips, all told.

    I do not understand the objection. I’ll read a couple more when I have time but strongly suspect none of them deserve to be scorned at either.

  • @ Sylvain Rousselot

    The human race, particularly here in the West, is very very fucked up indeed and that has been getting worse for some time now. Is perhaps accelerating as I type. The neurosis/psychosis, the delusions, the utter insanity of people is increasing and while psychiatry is undoubtedly off the ball about the true nature of humanity’s insanity, they are not as far off it as you are suggesting.

  • “Mental Health Europe advocates for a psychosocial approach to mental health, which instead of defining mental ill-health as a ‘disease’ or ‘illness’ caused by purely biological factors, looks to a person’s life and social environment, treating these factors as equally important in understanding well-being and mental ill health. It appreciates the lived experience of people who have experienced mental distress and recognises them as experts in their own lives.

    We all have mental health. Mental health is not only about disease or the absence of it. It is also about wellbeing and experiencing positive emotions: it is about us, our lives, work, relationships, physical health and social environment.”

    Thumbs up from me. Other than the bit about me being an expert on my own life, when in fact, like every other humble human being, I am a lifelong rookie. Life is too short to become an expert on it. But I do have some insights which only I can have, because only I can have them, because only I can live my life, which should not be brushed aside or crushed.

    It’s sad that the UK is trying to break free of Europe in order that it can go deep into a psychotic delusion of grandeur about a long-dead and romanticised Britishness of colonialism, Empire, xenophobia, jingoism.

    Maybe MHE can lobby to parachute in European psychologists to counsel this deluded and increasingly psychotic nation and help it back from the brink of impending disaster?

  • If you wish to become more familiar with Gandhi’s concept of Satyagraha this is a good text:

    In a 1914 speech Union leader Nicholas Klein said: “And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And that, is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.”

    I have a hunch that monuments were not built in the memory of Nicholas Klein and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Which may explain why that bit gets cut out in the bastardised versions.

    Nonetheless a number of researchers point to Klein as the origin of the misattributed Gandhi quote.

  • Krista Hartmann wrote: “Many are familiar with the following quote by Mahatma Gandhi. It sustained me as I shouldered the burden of going it alone:

    First they ignore you.

    Then they laugh at you.

    Then they fight you.

    Then you win.”

    If you are familiar with the speeches and writing of Gandhi, as I am, in a very humble and respectful way, then you’ll know that Gandhi never said this. He never wrote this. this has nothing whatsoever to do with him.

    Which begs the question why are there so many apparently flaccid lines slapped with pseudo-authenticity of Gandhi-ness?

    Is it another form of racism?

    I dunno. What I do know is the man never said this. In fact, the nearest available quote is from an American textile union leader from the early 20th C.

    Why do people keep doing this to Gandhi? I don’t get it.

  • Oldhead wrote: “If the term “injury” is really important to you, you might make a case that trauma is “injurious” to the soul, recognizing it as a poetic/metaphorical abstraction, and that stress and toxins are literally injurious to the body, so that both connotations of “injury” might co-exist here.”

    Stress and toxins are not “literally” injurious to the body. They can *actually* be injurious to the body. As you wrote above, it’s important to be careful with language.

  • I have only read the headline. Reclaiming Humanity at the Dawn of Posthumanism. Problem therein is:

    – from what or who are we to reclaim it from?
    – if this is the dawn of posthumanism (it almost certainly isn’t) then what is the advantage to a posthumanist to reclaim humanity?

    and consequently
    – how does one prevent a dawning of something new with the fading light of what came before it… if the light is fading on humanity and brightening on posthumanity, then why appeal to that which is failing, and it failing because of its failures?

    My hunch is the article is a call to primitivism, a colonialist romanticist fantasy of primitivism… which has failed, and it failing, just as the modern human too has failed, and is failing.

    In times of crisis appeals to the past become ever more prevalent and desperate. An idealised past that never existed.

    I prefer the idea of embracing change, humanising change, and desisting from belittling the emergent generations, desisting from shaming them and making them feel wrong and helpless and doomed.

    They possess all the mental, emotional, and creative energy that anyone did, at any point in human history. I think they’ll be okay, even if they opt to interface their brains with their quantum computers, and gameify their REM sleep, and high score their sex lives, and constantly respawn their identities.

    They’ll be okay, and humans will one day be kept in zoos, for sentient robots to gawk at and coo over.

  • There is no need to worry about a handful of commentators under the line of Mad in America. They are not going to take psychiatry down with pithy words and textual posturing. The majority of people that write articles here are interested in reform. Change is inevitable, and discussions are important to influence that change. What’s important is for as many voices to be heard as possible. There are lots of places on the internet that are pro-psychiatry… and anything even hinting at critique and questioning is abruptly rounded on, and rarely tolerated. And when it is tolerated it tends to be ghettoised.

    The majority of people in the mental health system are like you. They are able to discern that there is a lot of good and a lot that is far from good. There are many excellent people, and many not-so excellent people.

    As far as mental illness goes, it’s an attempt at an explanatory narrative. But by the by, it is only a very weakly evidenced narrative. However, culturally, it is the favoured narrative and all signs are that its massive growth is going to continue and so again, you have no need to worry about people taking your mental illness away from you, if that is the explanatory narrative you wish to invest in, which gives you meaning.

    Additionally, no-one is going to take your drugs from you, if you wish to go on taking them, you are free to go on taking them. Some people — the majority in this place — do not take benefits from drugs or were very harmed by them. If that is not your experience, then you may be one of the lucky ones, and it would seem that again, you are in the majority. Because most people don’t claim to have had bad experiences with drugs and in fact attest to some benefit from them.

    Benzos I agree are handy, if used very sparingly. A lot of people have a hard time on them, and a hard time getting off them. If that isn’t your experience then no-one here has the right to tell you otherwise. Some people do have a habit of contradicting peoples’ personal experiences. It’s uncouth of them, but that is their wont. I wouldn’t take it too seriously. There’s no point.

  • Gandhi knew what he was talking about when he said, “Be the change.”

    Gandhi unfortunately didn’t know what he was talking about when he said, “Be the change.” Because he never said it.

    According to Quote Investigator: “Gandhi died in 1948, and the earliest close match known to QI appeared many years later in 1974 within a book chapter written by educator Arleen Lorrance.”

    Arleen Lorrance who? Not quite as sexy but certainly the quote is a world apart from the polticial writings of Ghandhi, who would never have advocated for the individualism that the misquote promotes.

  • Frank Blankenship wrote: “Carl Gustav Jung, if you’ve seen the movie A Dangerous Method (2011) is known for having had a relationship with one of his patients, or former patients, and a future psychoanalyst herself, Sabina Spielrein, but perhaps it was actually after the professional relationship had dissolved that the intimate one began.”

    Nope. Jung commenced the spanky hanky-panky with Ms Spielrein while undertaking his experimental version of Freud’s techniques. We know this because he revealed to Freud in private correspondence what was going on and Freud was furious, this adding further to their inevitable parting of ways. Spielrein expressed no regrets for Jung’s groundbreaking therapeutic fucking. But what she did regret were a number of her psychoanalytic ideas being stolen by Jung and Freud and her being effectively written out of the history books.

    I agree with Will Hall’s implicit call for fighting corruption. I think that all therapists that consider themselves therapeutic fuckers should come out about it and make it absolutely clear from the off that their therapy may involve them prostituting themselves out for cash.

    I expect gentler terms would be arrived at in the honest self-reappraisal.

    Therapy with benefits?

  • Hands up who’s read the original study?

    It’s very poorly designed. And it sets the bar so low that it’s no wonder they found a strong correlation. I suppose, setting the bar high (ie. in their definition of psychosis, rather than sloppily going ahead with psychosis-like, or anything a little teeny bit like psychosis at all, anything, you once thought you heard a sound, any sound, and then you didn’t, and did you ever have a bad experience in childhood, anything, someone a little bit nasty to you, and made you cry, yes, once? that’s enough) the correlation would have been weak, and so not much point going ahead with something that was clearly intended as an exercise in bias confirmation.

    I’m not opposed to the idea that some people’s problems stem from bad experiences. Although these days this idea seems to have become a bit of a trendy and maddeningly simplifying narrative that has taken off as some kind of mass delusion.

    It would be better surely to come up with robust studies that are courageous enough to risk not confirming the bias, but which might open up other avenues of thought?

    Yes. I know. I expect too much.

  • I trust that you give a shit, Mr McCrea. I trust that if someone was having a hard time in your presence that you’d reach out to them. You’d go out of your way to help them.

    I’m like that too.

    Everyone, including you, including me, can lose sight of that, we can forget, or we can be uptight or worried or frightened. And we’ll hold back and do what most people do, because if you don’t hold back, imagine the shit this person could bring into your life…

    Imagine the shit this person could bring into your life.

    Do you really want that?

    Does anyone really want that?

    You ask, “Would it sell?”

    My counter-question is: “Do you give a shit enough to want that level of shit in your life?”

    Honest answer is no.

    I await your answer.

  • I wrote: “Headline: Mad in the UK “collective” Snubs Mad People”

    Auntie Psychiatry wrote: “Evidence?”

    Everyone snubs someone. That’s the name of the social game. Who have you been snubbing lately? I’ve been snubbing so much I have a sore snub.

    But on a less serious note, it was a joke. Most of the time I’m the only one who gets my jokes. I know they are funny because (1) no-one hardly ever lets me know I’ve made them laugh (2) they make me laugh. This is a currently undocumented form of narcissism, so far as I can tell.

    What I like most about my jokes is how funny they are. Just now I read back and I didn’t cringe or suchlike. I was immediately chuckling to myself. If only someone else could make me laugh the way I make myself laugh. It would be bliss.

  • Peter Breggin wrote: “As family members, therapists or doctors, what if we never again promoted or prescribed drugs as a “treatment” because they ultimately impair our frontal lobes and hence our ability to love?”

    Aye, just stick to those friends of the frontal lobes, alcohol, nicotine, sugar, aspartame, and cocaine.

    I suppose looking back to history, we will find more Love, prior to impairing our frontal lobes with psychiatric drugs?

    Okay. Let’s peer back through time and find the Great Age of Pre-Psychiatric Love. Keep going, keep going… and, keep going. O dear, we appear to have fallen over the edge of human time, to a time without humans.

    Okay, bring it back a bit. Hit the brakes! We’ve hit another cliff-edge, and gone to the time when no humans remain.

    One thing that struck me though was that beauty, that natural strangely harmonic beauty, when the humans aren’t turning the whole world gradually into some kind of plastic legoland of Love… serene… but also… lacking in something.

    Anyway best of wishes to all the lovers of the frontal lobes. Just one word of caution. Don’t get too attached to them. When it comes to the crunch, not even a perfectly functioning unabused pair of frontal lobes will prove much use to ya…

    Love to all xxx

  • I was in a store a few days ago and this woman was having a go at the cashier. She was accusing her of traumatising her. Good grief, I was thinking, and shuffled over to be of assistance, thinking there was perhaps a threat of death situation or some such. Turns out the woman with the trauma-claim was trying to return a pullover with a coffee or red wine stain on it, and the cashier was refusing.

    The emotion in her voice was palpable. No mistake. But trauma?

    In RJ McNally’s book Remembering Trauma, he writes: “The threshold for classifying an experience as traumatic is lower when times are good. In the absence of catastrophic stressors such as war, specialists in traumatic stress turn their attention elsewhere, discovering new sources of victims or hitherto unrecognized trauma.”

    I respect his bathos. People are trivialising trauma. It now means anything which upsets them a little bit, any slight narcissistic injury, any mention of anything which is mildly difficult or unpleasant. And it’s about as sincere as offering an injured dolphin a retirement at SeaWorld.

    Why are people so keen to make everything difficult in life a trauma? What do these kinds of people expect life to be? Even Disney films depict hardship, loss, trials… and they are by and large sentimentalised garbage.

    This is what happens when a small clique of people dominate the picture and make demands for system-change that do not widely reflect what people want and need. You end up with a farce. A traumatising farce.

  • “[…]to assume that someone is knowledgeable enough about the effects of a prescription drug, based on the information his or her doctor provides when writing a prescription, is making a huge leap.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I do not think that most people have an adequate understanding of biochemistry and physiology to allow them to make informed decisions about the risks of taking medications (psych or non-psych).”

    A doctor can’t tell you what will happen to you. All they can do at best is express hope that you feel a bit better. Whatever that means?

    Even the world’s foremost biochemist is unable to have an adequate understanding of what will happen to *you* if you take a psychoactive drug. Most of their knowledge is based on what has happened to mice, rats and fruitflies. In *isolated* *controlled* environments.

    And then they are unable to predict what will happen to a specific mouse, rat or fruitfly.

    And even then, no-one has a blinkin’ clue what happens when all these drugs enter the wild, and mix it up with all the culturally okayed shit, and all the environmental pollutants, the chemicalised environment, and plastic particulates in the food chain.

    It’s more complex than the simplifying narratives make it out to be.

    Never trust a simplifying narrative!

    There are expectancy effects and there is the placebo effect and some drugs are downy, and some others are uppy, and some others can be trippy. Beyond that, what does anyone really know about drugs and how can anyone realistically measure the effects of drugs on human beings? Moreso, on an individual?

    How can a doctor be held to blame if someone regularly using alcohol, sugar, aspartame and caffeine comes a-pleadin’ for a fix when their coctails catch up with them? And gives them what they want?

    And how honest are people anyway about their drug use with their doctors? Especially, as you know, most people are necking drugs under the self-delusion that they are non-drug substances.

    “The medical profession has a burden of responsibility as the gatekeepers of access to prescription medications. That is the issue being discussed here.”

    It’s all a bit too much scapegoaty and unrealistic if the broad issue of drugs and self-drugging isn’t included in a more honest and open discussion. Singling out one aspect of this drug opera isn’t getting to the heart of the issue. Which seems to be the way the world turns much of the time.

    I agree that the gate is too wide open. And needs pushing closed a fair bit. But afore that gate aren’t simply the gullible and the desperate. It’s a highly drugged population in disarray in a drug-normalised environment.

  • I read you blog post and I like your style and I like your vibe. I don’t have a problem with you using seroquel in order that you can maintain a functional life, especially as you are a working mother.

    I was diagnosed with schizphrenia a long time ago, in my late 20s. I struggle mostly with a generalized anxiety, insomnia, mood, concentration, disinhibiton, and persecutory thoughts. I have had visions and heard voices but they are, for me, quite rare events. I do not use antipsychotics.

    It has been a slow awakening. I have come to understand and accept, for once and for all, that a concussive traumatic brain injury at the age of 4-5 years old is what led to my lifelong difficulties. It has been quite a revelation to finally be acknowledged by my GP and mental health services. It has finally been acknowledged that the TBI has had a terrible impact on my life, and had I been born in recent years, then my childhood would have involved neuropsychologists and special educational and familial support to help me. It is too late now. I am approaching 50 years old. So I use my energies to keep fit and grow good food and when I can explore areas of natural beauty.

    I’ll soon be called in to meet up with a neuropsychologist. There is a charity called Headway and they have meeting groups. I’ve read around the subject a lot and I guess I’ll find people with whom I have a lot in common. Just as I did when finding mental health drop-ins and being on PICUs and wotnot. Lots of people with diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar have many of the same symptoms of TBI and vice versa. In fact many of them like me should be given a primary diagnosis of TBI. For me, it’s like I’m getting my genuine identity. Although I would prefer to have both schziophrenia and TBI labels.

    We are very different in that I cope without psychiatric drugs through rejecting magical thinking and you propose that magical thiking is what is going to transform your life.

    I do not doubt your abilities and I hope you have more success in life than I have. Mine has been a series of outrageous disasters, one after the other. I’d not be writing this if I didn’t have a sense of humour.

    I wish you well Ekaterina and hope we can meet face to face some day. We would make one another laugh, and have lots of interesting topics to talk about, I am sure.

  • Oops. Yes, sugar has nutritional value and depicting alcohol as a drug is an opinion. Please forgive my poor education.

    And yes, it’s very naughty when doctors dish out drugs that drug-seeking individualists go seeking. Very naughty indeed. And those poor-drug seeking people isolated in their desolate villages with no access to information. Those poor serfs being led along by the naughty doctors and the naughty pharmacists and their naughty leaflets.

    I mean, who doesn’t trust a leaflet with massive lists of side-effects?

    And we know alcohol and sugar is okay and much better than the naughty doctors stuff because have you ever been given a leaflet detailing lengthy health risks including death when purchasing alcohol and sugar?

    I should hope not!

    Damn those naughty doctors and hurray to the publican and the sugary food retailer!

  • People are entitled to believe that there’s some symbolic meaning in their psychosis. Some people enjoy ATTEMPTING TO SOLVE cryptic crosswords.

    To solve a cryptic crossword requires the crossword to be set by a skilled cryptician.

    So here we have an interesting slant on psychosis. Psychosis is a symbolic puzzle set by a skilled cryptician that has somehow lost the skill to decrypt their own encryptions.

    A therapist is therefore some kind of encryption-breaker, a skilled decryptician.

    Which must mean that my own experinces of psychosis have been enctrypted using complex elliptic curve algorithms that would take the most intelligent person several hundred million years to decrypt. Because I cannot make head nor tail of them and other people have claimed to have solved them, only to have performed the facetious act of filling in the crossword with words that fit and join up and match one another, but don’t actually solve the puzzle.

    Also, it is not black and white. To have problems of the brain does not equate to having a disease. It’s not a unsolved puzzle versus having a disease.

    For instance, traumatic brain injuries (I mean authentic ones, not histrionic ones) in childhood, can result in quite unfathomable developmental issues in the noggin, which even the most skilled cryptician would be unable to solve.

    A traumatic brain injury is not a disease. It doesn’t create a disease. It introduces absurdo-cryptic elements to a person’s personality and perceptual and experiential *styles* that no-one — at least no-one of a humble disposition — can solve.

    Odd (Scandinavian, pronounced “ot”) was terrified. He was walking home from a third group session of Foetal ReTRIB(e)utional A-waken-ing at his local Alienation Centre, and all the faces had become the meatus of a penis, and as he looked at each new passing stranger, each face was a meatus, and their hands were a meatus, and their necks a phallic shaft, and their eyes were like black pre-canecerous moles, and their hair thick strands of pubic growth.

    “The world is turning to cock!” he shouted aloud, and a leathery meatus-faced man was in earshot and gave chase.

    I will take that anecdote to the next ISPS conference — fleshed out, if you will — and request symbolic interpretations.

  • The overuse of the slash without spaces makes reading sometimes harder. Is this a hyphenated word, such as example-hyphenated or, (example–hyphenated) is this a slash? And the slashed out part of a sentence should be a violent departure or abrupt emphasising, not a gentle, or flowing clarification.

    So, say I was writing a sentence — and I want your fucking attention — that is the kind of tonal departure that a slashed out section should be used for, not a part like this, which is gently explaining things in the thematic flow of what came before. In that case, it’s best to use commas, or parentheses.

    Of course, grammar and language changes through constant mangling. But some punctuational rules are worth maintaining, for ease of reading.

  • I reject psychiatry outright. That is why I use antipsychotics. That is also why I accepted the invitation to the ghetto. They leave the door open but I wish to make it absolutely clear that I choose to remain here on my own terms. I have no fear of the world outside the ghetto. I mean, that is actually where I belong. I don’t understand why you can’t see that or why my decision to remain here and bellow and make a name for myself is essential. After all, my experience is universal. My demands are universal. My needs are universal.

    Fuck the open door! I will remain here and you will listen to me. I am beyond important. I am essential. If I wasn’t fundamental why do you think they would bring me here, and why do you think I would choose to remain here, despite the open door and the world outside?

  • It’s important to try and avoid the sententiousness that always accompanies one persons’ attitudes to someone elses’ drug use.

    If you are going to go ahead with the pompous moralising, then it’s best to do so from a very, very solid position of personal abstention from drugs, including from the most prevalent and damaging of all: alcohol and refined sugar.

    Alcohol alone, is the drug of choice for suicide, homicide, rape, domestic and stranger violence, and child abuse. It is toxic to all of the major organs, including the brain, the heart, the liver and the kidneys. It is attributable to a great many home fires, car accidents personal injuries, and disrupted social gatherings.

    How many regulars on here who castigate psychiatric drugs are using alcohol and sugar?

    How many people on here are well-informed and aware of the risks of alcohol and sugar but go on using them anyway?

    And more importantly, why?

    If alcohol and sugar are anything to go by, people can be repeatedly informed of the risks and the likely impacts on their health, but choose to go on using anyway. They weigh the pros and the cons and for them it balances on the positives.

    The same can be done with psychiatric drugs.

    Some people find solace through using them. They are aware of the pros and cons. Agree that people should be better informed. But force is a human rights issue, an infringement.

    But if bad news about drugs was enough to drive people away from them, then as I say, you don’t have to venture far from your own home to work out why bad news isn’t enough. And that’s true for almost everyone.

    Force. Compulsion. That is the problem that needs to be addressed, and perhaps more people inflicting forced drugging would be less willing to partake in this human rights infringement if they themselves were better informed about the risks.

  • People are free to use whatever terms they like without being harassed by the self-proclaimed terminology police. Despite that right to free expression, the terminology police will assert their right to freely express their policing of terminology.

    Embracing diversity and difference is important, but it’s never entirely possible. For instance, I struggle withe embracing rightwing ideologies, sexism, and hate-speech, and folks that push those agendas are careful to remind me about their right to be different.

    There is a line which is drawn at differing places and one person will always be over someone elses’ line.

    Ultimately sides have to be chosen, and then the battle commences. There is strength in numbers. And groupings can make people more vulnerable.

    I find it easy to agree with your sentiments because they are close to mine. I’m convinced I’ve thought myself into the correct and most moral perspective and find value in others that have reached the same conclusions. Other than that lot over there, and that lot over there, and so on, almost infinitely. What’s harder is to work out what I’m getting wrong. The only way to work that out is to actively disagree with myself and others who seem to align with me. Understandably that results in getting shunned. The last thing people want to do is work out what they are getting wrong, especially because that evasive place of sagacity is somewhere in between the values they hold dear and those they reject.

    And that’s true for everyone.

    best wishes.

  • Clearly different people will identify different experiences as tardive akathisia. I can’t relate to your attempt to turn it into words and maybe that’s because it can’t be. Every time I’ve read an attempt to narrate akathisia I’ve been left cold. Important to add that this includes my own attempts.

    I did like you pointing out on your website that akathisia gets red-lined as a spelling error often. As it does here. Which I have remarked on in the past yet it still goes on making me doubt. Which of course is taking the piss.

    (tardive also gets red-lined which again is a massive piss-take for a place like this)

    A lot of your agony seems more connected to dyskinesia. And you seem to be blurring the distinction.

    I’ve asked myself seriously if it is important to maintain the distinction and I think that it is. Dyskinesia is a very visible movement disorder. Akathisia is often an invisible torment.

    But I wish you well. And I hope one day I get to talk to you in person.

  • noel hunter wrote: “Take ostracism, for example. Being ignored, disliked, and left out, no matter how subtle, can be a death sentence for some. It can be more painful and more damaging than physical bullying or abuse.”

    Story of my life. Although I don’t find it painful. I have thought a lot into why I don’t find it painful. And I think it must be because (1) I don’t want a mad persona. so I do try real hard to create a mad persona in text online that is not-quite-me, and thus, not-quite-worthy of emotionally investing in. additionally, it’s the text that matters. not me. text is not a person. and text does not require reactive text to exist. for instance, it is not necessary to validate a book in a bookshop or in a library by leaving one’s own book next to it. in fact, the act of doing that might be considered uncouth. perhaps even criminal.

    (2) if one is ignored it is because one is considered perhaps unpredictable or unreliable or unworthy. again, I find those very agreeable reactions to my mad persona, which I reject. so ignoring me is in fact deepening my sense of abandonment of my false self, thrust onto me, and which I can only escape through active alienation. so thank you to the many people that wish me away. you add your wishes to my own.

    (3) I ignore people too, as does the author of the quote. we do it actively, knowingly, selectively, and as far as we’re concerned, conscientiously, and if we didn’t, we’d start to fall to pieces, because the energy we gain from alienating others, helps us gain and maintain the energy we need in alienating ourselves.

    the peculiar effect of this commitment to ignoring all other people, as much and as often as possible, has had the peculiar reverse effect in the real world. somehow I have become unusually, perhaps even at times, intensely approachable, and try as I might, the poor alienated folk just won’t leave me alone in public, they do not understand why they find me irresistable, or compelling… yet they do and I struggle to have a few moments of peace out and about

    of course, I am impeccably well-mannered during these assaults on my nihilism and misanthropy… remain impeccably and agreeably polite and well-humoured… yet even still, I long to be ignored, to be invisible, if only that I could get on with bone-chilling screaming out to the universe, and remain unheard and unacknowledged, like everyone else

    but, back to the article…

  • Interesting advice.

    The more I study the tactics and the mind-set of the agent provocateur, the more I find it difficult to distinguish the hard-line antipsychiatrist.

    In any activist group, the agent provocatuer will be the one who is most active, is the one that is most radical, is the one that is most consistent, the most pervasive, the most “there”, and is the one that by vurtue of their omnipresence, becomes the one most trusted, and the one that ends up being the one that all narratives must flow through.

    I’m not saying you are an agent provocateur, oldhead, but you share a remarkable number of characteristics.

  • Which brings us back to Frank Blankenship and his assertion that the only struggle worthy of blood sweat n tears is the human rights struggle.

    My interpretation of the antipsychiatrist, no apologies for the grotesque generalisation, is that they are more committed to an eternal debate and an eternal dance macabre with psychiatry, then they are with actual progress. In other words, they just wanna play the good cop bad cop routine, endlessly, sucking all the juice out of and undermining all efforts to find and establish better ways.

    They are the ultimate disruptive force to progress and the key factor as to why progress is so difficult to make, even on the level of discourse.

    For instance, rejecting outright the notion of “alternative” is helping who the most? Psychiatry or those who seek new ways of integrating mad folk into the social fabric?

  • oldhead wrote: “No, you don’t get it and probably shouldn’t try, whatever road you are on, if you are sincere, will eventually lead you to a place where we can at least speak the same language; right now it’s apples & oranges.

    I did not say the “alternative” to psychiatry is socialism, only that socialism is one step along the way to liberation. My point all along has been that the idea of “alternatives” is irrelevant to a discussion about fighting psychiatry. The main point of the above post is that fighting psychiatry and providing a network or program of “support” for troubled individuals are two separate tasks practically speaking and, whatever their relative value, should not be treated as the same.

    As for your last paragraph, even if your faith in “mental health” were realistic, it’s way too late for “change.” I see nothing to support any of your assertions here regarding “discourse.” At any rate, psychiatry has always been an ideology supporting whatever status quo is in effect.”

    It’s worth keeping in mind that oldhead and others have lived under 50 years of political repression/suppression of socialism, and so understandably are prone to romanticise socialism and, perhaps due to generations of educational biasing, have very little understanding either of the history of socialism or, as it is so closely tied to, the history of europe.

    So it is inevitable that a certain level of defensive aggressiveness will show through when talking to people who have lived experience of socialism, and indeed, as in the case of Ekaterina Netchitailova, state communism. There is no reason to believe that socialism is one step or any step towards the abolition of psychiatry. In fact, quite the reverse, the bolsheviks embrace psychiatry rather zealously, for the reasons their rivals do the same.

  • “When we hear about the exact same type of injustice and suffering that we know so intimately again and again for that many years, it is human nature to start to numb out about it a bit. It’s like how school shootings and all mass shootings were such a shock when they began, but now that they are happening every week, it seems, many of us tend to only feel acute emotions about the ones we are somehow more connected to.

    Call me a sociopath if you want…”

    A sociopath wouldn’t openly admit to the numbing. Quite the reverse, they’d most likely have spent 15 years becoming highly skilled at appearing genuinely empathic and inexhaustibly compassionate.

    So I hold my hand up for a high five coz I always appreciate bold honesty.

    One thing which may be slightly taboo to point out here is how maybe that numbing is not only a process of desensitising, but also an understandable defence mechanism… that is going to be experienced by mental health professionals too, people that are daily encountering high levels of stress and emotional pain, confusion and bewilderments… but which all boil down to the same essential dramas repeating themselves. That they willingly go back, day after day, for more, says a lot. I don’t know how they do it. And I don’t know how they can do it and not switch off to some degree.

    Personally, I try and keep away from it all as much as possible. Other mad people can drive me insane. So another high five for your personal qualities that mean you can handle it, even with setting boundaries, its more than I could handle, and more than many people could typically handle, especially helping people through withdrawals, which can be particularly harrowing.

    Best of luck and health.

  • The middle one I posted,, by mistake and it’s recommendations aren’t at all good. So in that case it’s pushing “unsafe” info. For instance “Tails” isn’t safe, better to use it’s hardened cousin, “Heads”. The other two have no known third party scripts and trackers. Pay particular attention to the concept of “known”.

    The other two are as sound as you’re going to get with regards information to keep you safe. They have no known third party scripts and trackers. Pay particular attention to the concept of “known”.

    But you shouldn;t trust people on the internet, per se. Find a linux user group near you and they can help and advise. Although be aware that all Linux user groups will be infiltrated in some way by the secret services, for obvious reasons.

    Any website can be compromised, even ones headed-up by uber-geeks that are obsessed with your fundamental right to privacy.

    And no action you can take will be enough to prevent a national actor from infiltrating you, if you are that important.

    But many of these automatic systems can be at least held back somewhat enough to afford some space to breathe. In other areas activists have taken these concerns seriously.

    When they haven’t taken these concerns serriously, they have paid very dearly. A very good example of that is here:

    From an information security point of view these people were very easy to fool using standard social engineering techniques.

    If you don’t think that antipsychiatry activism would be considered reason enough to infiltrate and disrupt, think again.

    It only takes one attached document in an email to be opened up from a “trusted comrade” and your whole network is compromised.

    In the modern world new levels of paranoia are an asset.

    But this is all relatively mundane stuff. It gets really juicy when you open your mind to what is really happening with mental patients (and other vulnerable groups) with regards unlawful in vivo experiments and testings of mind control technologies. That’s where professionals start asking you to tell them who “they” are… in which case, perhaps best to use the term “unknown actors”

  • Althusser’s distinction between the Repressive State Apparatus and the Ideological State Apparatus can help to understand the role of psychiatry. Whats interesting is that in discussions of the RSA and the ISA, psychiatry only very rarely gets a mention. That is another of it’s successes.

    And yes, Oldhead is often hinting at Althusser, even if he may not be aware that he is.

    Having said that, just like other RSAs and ISAs, the function isn’t exclusively malign, and that’s perhaps where antipsychiatry repeatedly fails to gain ground.

    Having said that, Althusser’s concept of interpellation can be difficult to grasp, especially in this age of the self.

  • I’ll break this gently.

    Under RIPA (2000) and IPA (2016), Theresa May’s surveillance laws as Home Secretary and latterly Prime Minister, mental health teams have had the power to be informed about your internet history. This includes metadata such as sites visited, as well as other info such as Paypal* records, online banking records, social media data, pretty much any financial transactions conducted online. This also includes, email (by and large, depending on numerous factors). Now, having dug into this on and off for many years, it would seem that most of this information is provided, on request, by the appropriate regional police force who provide some kind of overview of the information which they can easily obtain, using a combination of national and bespoke local systems. But basically, the mental health services supply a list of names to the police who conduct the checks (and most likely hacks, if someone is using methods to circumvent surveillance) and supply a summary record. I haven’t so far been able to ascertain the level of detail of those summary records, but from what I can glean, they are interested in any personal information which broadens their forensic profiles. So expect a summary of buying habits, porn habits (if any), associations, sexuality, political interests, hobbies, searches, and so on.

    You have no right to access these records. You have no right to check their validity. Or decide who gets to see them.


    Be very careful about making a fuss about this. Never forget Dr Rita Pal.


    Has/is the use of RIPA and IPA powers by mental health teams proportionate and lawful?

    Since the murder of Jo Cox MP, by a mental health service user, the forensic profiling of mental health patients is now a routine matter and essentially the blanket reason given to justify the intrusive digital intelligence-gathering. Additionally, forensic psychology lists mental illness as a possible vulnerability factor in the radicalisation of a person, particularly the lone wolf type. Keep in mind that the most recent surveillance law gives the power to multiple agencies to either instigate or request a partner agency to deploy instrusive covert surveillance on a target individual. This can include microphone, cameras, and tracking devices, in any room/s in the home, and personal vehicles, for example. Although these days most people voluntarily append their person with a sophisticated intrusive surveillance device, namely their smartphone. And keep in mind that the internet is defined in RIPA as “a surveillance device”.

    IPA (2016) introduces a new crime for people involved in covert and overt surveillance. It is now a crime punishable by up to (I think) 7 years in prison to divulge to anyone that they have been, are being, or are going to be, subjected to overt or covert intrusive or non-intrusive surveillance. So if you raise this matter with your mental health service providers, expect to be met with incredulity.

    *(Paypal voluntarily share their data. They aren’t obliged to, as they are based outside UK jurisdiction)

  • Get hold of a de-googled version of Google Chrome such as Chromium. Install the plug-in called Umatrix. Play with it and you’ll soon pick up what to do.

    But if privacy is the goal, you need to be all-in to even stand a chance. So read here:

    and here:

    and here:

    Any serious activists should assume they are operating in a hostile environment and take necessary basic precautions, which are pretty much covered by the above sites.

  • Interesting read. I should say re-read. That’s for the ever-watching eyes. It took me five re-reads to get a handle. As evidenced by my browser history, which also evidences the frequency with which I went off-topic and continually examined information about frontal lobe injury. Additionally, this website has a plugin which evidences how long I stayed on the article each time, and where my mouse wandered.

    Actually, it didn’t as I have it blocked.

    I have just been passing messages via SMS. This is also on the record, kept for a year. And all these messages are continually scanned for keywords and phrases by AI systems.

    Just now I boiled a kettle. This created a known signature on the electricity system, recorded by the smart meter. So that my supplier and GCHQ are aware that (1) I’m at home, and (2) I’m probably having a cup of tea. And they’d be right, on both counts.

    I’ll stop exampling there, as it goes on, and it can frighten some people. But please stop suggesting that the Panopticon is theoretical and internalised.

    It is internalised, yes, by anyone with any amount of common sense.

    But it is not theoretical. It is a lived fact for everyone, particularly in the UK, the most sureveilled state in the so-called free world.

    Mental health patients in the UK are subjected to special provisions under UK surveillance law. This extends to new powers given to mental health teams nationwide who have new, and very close relationships with the secret services.

    This stuff used to be considered paranoia 101. But not any more. It is lived reality.

  • Sceptics often point out people who claim to have lived previous lives invariably claim to be well-known dead people, such as Anne Frank. There is a clear case to be made for overidentification. And there is clearly little concern for the problems of verification. A deliberate cynical fraud would surely involve claiming to be someone dead that is not well-known, whose life is not well-documented. But seemingly, non-famous people only very rarely reincarnate. Whereas famous dead people reincarnate frequently, sometimes multiple times at different places on the Earth, re-occupying living bodies simultaneously. For instance, Jesus reincarnates several thousand times a year, every year, the world over. Which is troubling, given that Jesus is clearly having problems getting the reincarnation right, which suggests some glitch or bug in the spawning system.

    I have tried to find a website that collates the reincarnated dead people, attempts to keep a count. It would be interesting to see how many Anne Franks there are currently, as well as an accurate number of Jesuses. John Lennon often reincarnates too. So does Mozart, Beethoven and — less mentioned — Adolf Hitler. I would like to be able to check in somewhere and keep an eye on the numbers. Not sure why I would find that reassuring, but I would.

    Language-wise, there is little difference between saying “I am Jesus reborn” compared to say “I am *like* Jesus reborn”. This is why I think that frontal lobe injury is probably a key factor in such phenomena, as the frontal lobes play a part in the regulation of self-image.

  • Youre welcome, Ekaterina.

    Like anything it depends, depends, depends. Some people would rather be left alone. I can often count myself in that number. It took a while to come to terms with that. I went through a period of thinking I had to recover. That it was possible to recover. And then, in exploring these areas, I discovered that time and time again, the pressures I was putting on myself were pushing me in the opposite direction. I kept getting worse.

    And I object to my achievements and adaptations, as humble as they are, being referred to as recovery. It’s not recovery to stay alive or not get arrested or have a bath. It’s not recovery to look in a mirror, or write online. You don’t get to recover from what some describe as severe and enduring mental illness. Or schizphrenia. Or whatever. Frontal lobe damage. Traumatic brain injury. Yes, plasticity, and so on. But for gawd’s sake it’s compensatory. All that evolution wasn;t for nothing and yes if you knock out one section of the noggin, another part of the brain can compensate. But it will never, NEVER!, function as well as that original brainflesh.

    I accept that some people want to be in recovery-oriented and so-called compassionate scenarios, and that they go in with high expectations, and come out sometimes as evangelists. This is fine, fine for them, but for people like me, people that do not buy into the New Age stuff, the evangelists for these kinds of things are a bit of a pain in the arse.

    The people you allude to, many of them, find comfort in their solitude, find peace in their minimal lives. They do not want to be compelled to be amongst others, in a designated place, herded, shepherded, prescribed an identity, compelled to think that an institution, of no matter what kind, is their natural habitat, and the best place for them, when things are tough. They want to be left alone, for the most part. For all the recovery-bashing zealots to back right off and populate whatever moon takes their fancy.

    Some people want to be in hospital wards. They get a lot out of it. They hit it off with staff and the experience is positive for them. Other people want to be in alternative institutions like Soteria, and it works for them, to be indulged by others in a less medical way, although Soteria Houses do not dispense entirely with medication, and of course, they have obligations, and legal requirements, and standards of behaviour and etiquette, institutional rules and modes of being, and are not unknown to ring the police to take over, when they have reached the limits of their limitless compassion.

    It depends, depends, depends. Always it depends.

    Some people such as myself would much rather, at times, be afforded a personal budget, and a full-time personal assistant, and the green-light to pop off somewhere quiet and solitudinal, near the sea, away from the agony of roads, and the filth of fumes and the sickness of bright lights and the horror of microwave technologies. There is the possibility of this, the carrot has been dangling for many for years, and a few have succeeded in establishing a social contract, a personal budget, and assistance to do with that what they will, psychosocially, for the better of their health and will to live and go on with what is, essentially, a very limited and painful life, by nature of the struggles they contend with.

    What I should have been given was a picture-in-picture rectangle in the corner of every single screen that ever got goggled at. I be there, constantly making comments, reacting, correcting grammar and spelling, pointing out logical inconsistences, plot irregularities, and unforgiveable instances of narcissistic character development, and underlining acts and utterances of class betrayal, and bigotry, and self-sodomising pretentiousness, of which there is so much these days, I can hardly come up for air, am deluged by it. For instance I said to a stranger yesterday, do you believe in god, and he goes no, and so I ask, well, have you ever believed in god, and he goes no, and I asks, well, there’s a thing and so have you ever indulged the idea that there might be a god, and he goes no, and so I ask, well, then youll struggle with my question, and I knew he had no interest in my question, but I asked it anyway, as I had a compulsion to finish, and so I asks him, do you think that god would request that someone killed themselves, and finally he awakens from his smartphone, and he goes, I DO NOT want to go there with that kind of thing, I dont want to think about it, and I asks, do you mind but do you self-identify as depressed, and he goes, FUCK YOU YES I AM DEPRESSED, and he looks like he’s going to punch me in the face and I smile at him and I goes, well, according to the bible, god loves you and he won’t ask you to kill yourself and in fact if ever a voice or thought appears in your noggin and suggests you should kill yourself, know this for sure, it isnt god doing it

    What I would like to see is less paternalism. Less assumptions being made without actually talking to people and getting a real angle on the true diversity of the mad community, for want of a better collective noun. So much of what is provided or established or proposed stems from the desires and hopes of too small a number of consulted persons, and this, I find, to be a very disagreeble pattern, a perhaps even insulting approach, demeaning, fakey… fakey in the sense of not actually all that concerned with the plight of others, and what they want, and what they think might help them, or even just what they know isn’t helpful to them, but an assumption that because a small handful of celebrity activists push an agenda, that is the totality of the agenda. I find that whole business sordid, and dispiriting.

    I accept that madinamerica is doing its bit to give a voice to people, but it’s like, say at a football match, on the terraces, you can only ever hear the voices closest to you, and even then only the ones that are bellowing the loudest,the rest, the vast majority, just merge into an overwhelm of voices indeterminate. the stories can never be exhausted. personally I consider that to be a wonderful thing. and I thank you sincerely for sharing your own. for a while it’ll ring in my ears. Best of luck and health.

  • Ekaterina Netchitailova wrote: “There is nothing apart from Mad in America website to help those who try to look for alternative explanations and views. Nothing. While there is an urgent need to actively help those who suffered in a more active way, such as self-education.”

    There are lots and lots of places on the internet that greet people with open arms who have experiences of past lives, or alternate famous personalities, or mystical experiences. Also, pretty much any religion is open to people having these experiences.

    Likewise the internet is replete with psychiatric survivors who are heavily invested in exploring away from the mainstream.

    You might make a start at

  • Ekaterina Netchitailova wrote: “Well Jesus was referred to somewhere as a paranoid schizophrenic…”

    Yes, I see that get repeated often and it’s a real chin-rubber of a statement.

    What you won’t see is people making the effort to think deeper into it.

    The post-Pauline Jesus is a mythical construct. The pre-Pauline Jesus is a human being and nothing more.

    The post-Pauline Jesus would, on paper, meet the criteria for schizophrenia. Except, a mythical person cannot meet psychiatric criteria, except as a kind of indulgent parlour game.

    The pre-Pauline Jesus was a revolutionary in some ways, but did not depart from any of the prevalent teachings of the time, in the East at least. He was very much a human being and does not meet the criteria for schizophrenia.

    Gautama Siddharta (who I do not believe was or is the Buddha, as such a being is a mythical construct) would, at turns, have met the modern criteria for schizophrenia, but not in the context of his own culture, by the by.

    I consider there to be very many people like myself who have suffered significant damage to the frontal lobes (and the parietal lobes) and later to the amygdala, who share many of the classic symptoms of schizophrenia/manic psychosis, and who will often end up with that label, as we live in a world that is uneasy about not categorising things, even when there is an obvious functional problem in a person’s brain.

  • To avoid this game with psychiatrists, don’t play the game with psychiatrists. If you kick the ball to them, and then complain when they kick it back…

    I am Martina Navratilova and I am Joan of Arc and I am Demis Roussos. It’s okay so long as I don’t make those claims to a psychiatrist.

    It’s a bit like walking up to a heavily armed Police Officer in London and telling them you are Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and then complaining that what happened next was an overreaction.

    Surely you wouldn’t say these things to a psychiatrist unless you wanted a reaction? And then… what reaction are you expecting?

  • It may have been a deliberate play on words…

    It’s upsetting to discover that a literary cool-dude such as George Bernard Shaw was also a bit of a kill-y, hatey-y person. I mean, read the Don Juan in Hell section in Man and Superman and come back and tell me you are not stirred into finding something good and thrilling inside you.

    But GBS is definitely being an antiauthoritarian in that extracted speech of his I posted. What is he opposing but the final authority of God and the sanctity of all human life, with the meekest as the core of humanity and the ultimate aim of all compassion. Like I say, have a read of Don Juan in Hell and it all links into the authoritarianism of eugenics which is merely a displacement of the authoritarianism of God and fundamental Christian values.

    Which is the problem of nihilism and the anti. It seeks to annihilate or depose that which it considers an illegitimate authority, via the mechanism of its own authoritarianism. Deposing the despot in order that the space is filled by the deposing authority.

    As I wrote previously, I am under a lot of strain so I could just as well be missing the point.

    A couple of days ago I limped into the local park with my dog and was alarmed to spy three youths attempting to stamp out a fire they had started, that had already part-decimated a children’s play area. I approached them and they all scarpered, but one remained. He reminded me of when the akathisia was kicking in at the beginning of each freshly injected month, all those years ago when I was on the forced depot. He had ants in his pants. It went like this:

    “You know… back in the day… when I was your age… they often wouldn’t listen to me.”
    “Trust!” he replies.
    “I think if they had listened to me, my life might have been much better.”
    “Trust!” he says again, “Trust!”
    “But you know… sometimes… sometimes you do have to listen to other people. To older people, adults…”
    “And you know… playing with fire, arson. In many ways it’s considered by the courts as worse than murder. The authorities are not happy about people lighting fires. When they catch people doing it they often send them to forensic institutions, and torture them…”
    And then the fire engine could be heard approaching. And the firemen started pounding across the grass towards us.
    “This is the bit where you run away.”

    And off he ran with one last, “Trust!”

  • I agree with it. That was my motivation to post it.

    And not without irony, given that an appeal to authority to make a point is a quintessentially bourgeois rhetorical device. But ah well. Lenin nails it.

    The other discomfort is the bourgeois tactics Lenin deployed in exploiting the anarchists and then reneging on the promises post-revolution. That was a dreadful faux pas, although, realistically, would you really want such a wart of disruption growing on your state’s chubby flank?

    I’m under a lot of strain and when I am under a lot of strain I remember bits and bobs from my younger years. I once self identified as a leninist-trotskyist. Those were proud and hopeful days. During those times I made acquaintance with many self-identifying anarchists and I admired many of them, and learnt much from them.

    These days I am a hermit and enjoy watching youtube videos made by targeted individuals. Increasingly I’m feeling an affinity with them.

    Funny how life ebbs and flows, innit.

  • Frank Blankenship wrote: “Yeah, better to stick with nihilism than become a contradiction in terms.”

    Anarchists are romantic nihilists. Nothing wrong with that, as such. Everyone loves a good bonfire of the vanities, even if its vain people carrying the matches.

    Some good things have come out of anarchism. Punk rock. Grafitti. Situationism. All of course easily assimilated, because, as lenin points out, its the flip-side of bourgeois self-obsession dressed up as anti this and anti that. When really the whole point of the anti is that it cannot exist without its antithesis.

    The anti does not want to rid the world of what it opposes. It wants to dance eternally with it.

  • “It is not for nothing that international socialist congresses adopted the decision not to admit the anarchists. A wide gulf separates socialism from anarchism, and it is in vain that the agents-provocateurs of the secret police and the news paper lackeys of reactionary governments pretend that this gulf does not exist. The philosophy of the anarchists is bourgeois philosophy turned inside out. Their individualistic theories and their individualistic ideal are the very opposite of socialism. Their views express, not the future of bourgeois society, which is striding with irresistible force towards the socialisation of labour, but the present and even the past of that society, the domination of blind chance over the scattered and isolated small, producer. Their tactics, which amount to a repudiation of the political struggle, disunite the proletarians and convert them in fact into passive participators in one bourgeois policy or another, since it is impossible and unrealisable for the workers really to dissociate themselves from politics.”

    Lenin, 1905

  • I would also like to be an authority on antiauthoritarianism, maybe even become a bit of an authority figure for antiauthoritarians?

    Actually probably best I stick with the absurdism and the dada.

    Problem with the anarchists is their general lack of regard for other peoples’ stuff. It being a kind of virtuous act of liberation to fuck with other peoples’ stuff, to kinda teach them a fundamental lesson about the illegitimacy of ownership (thankfully rape was broadly discussed and settled as an unacceptable disregard for ownership way back in the 19th C.).

    Bakunin for instance was okay with arson and burglary. You can’t destroy an anarchists property causes it’s all shared and so you’d be destroying your own assets too. So non-anarchists are fair game. Coz they aint sharing.

    This is music to the ears of arsonists and burglars.

    For religious people, there is only one final authority. To the atheist, it’s an unsolved problem, answered with pseudo-talk about the golden rule.

    I think most authority is arbitrary, if you deconstruct it, just a little. Is Simon Cowell an authority on popular music? I think most would say yes, but then would Paul McCartney. And then who knows best between McCartney and Lennon, or both of them and Dylan. It goes on and on.

    The final authority on the absurdism of a human life, any human life, is Samuel Beckett. Although, who’s to say it isn’t Salman Rushdie or De Seus?

    Psychiatry is an authority that people have decided is best suited to these times. They cut through a lot of the crap and put their finger on things that no-one can in actual fact put their finger on.

    It’s a more frightening world without the witchdoctor. And God knows those illegitimate shamans have a lot to answer for…